Sunday, October 30, 2005

Frugal Meal Planning week of Oct 30th

Sunday We went out...

Monday Sandwiches easy night due to halloween

Tuesday Chicken Stragnoff in the crockpot

Wednesday Taco pie Some ortega soft tacos mixed with ground beef, onions, salsa

Thurs Leftover chicken stragnoff

Friday CORN (Clean out the fridge night

Saturday Homemade pizza

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What you make vs what you save?

I was checking out Dave Bach's
new article 
on yahoo fianance site. He was getting critcized on the yahoo finance message boards that his previous article wasn't realistic.

Can you become a millionaire by what you save?
If you don't earn alot of money, will you ever become a millionare if you are living paycheck to paycheck.

David your ideas are good in theory, but they don't have anything to do with reality," she said.
When I asked her what she meant, she explained that I talked about saving $5 to $10 a day like it was no big deal. Well, for her, she said, it was impossible, because she was living paycheck to paycheck.
We then went through her expenses for a typical day. What did we find? Well, her double non-fat latte was $3.50, non-fat muffin $1.50, juice $3.95, juice boost $.50, PowerBar $1.75 -- that was $11.20 already by 11:00 a.m., not including lunch or anything else for the rest of the day

What you do spend each day that you maybe able to cut out? For example my husband was buying a sausage sandwich and a coffee at work each day for like $5.00. I told him I could make my mom mcmuffins each day for him for probably $5.00 a week.

According to Dave if we said that $5.00 a day
$5 would become $150 a month, nearly $2,000 a year. Figuring a 10 percent return, the stock market average over the last 50 years, I asked her how much she, being 23, might save by the time she was 65? She guessed $100,000, then $200,000, then $500,000. She was shocked when I told her it was almost $1.2 million.

I don't know if 10% is realistic these days but really a hopeful return.

If you have more income for the most part you have more disposable income and can save more giving you a more realstic chance to be a millionaire.

DH and I do save for retirement. He saves in his 401k 11%. I save in a Roth IRA since I don't work a job-just my home business. I put in $300 a month into a Roth. Are we close to being millionaires-no way. Could we find more ways to save? Absolutely,we could. Do we want to? Not necessarily. There is a balance between now and in the future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Home heating myths

Try having a night away from home each week or on a saturday--go enjoy someone elses heat, such as the library or community center. But, if you are away from home less than 4 hours, you spend more energy reheating your house if you turn your heat down and back up again. Don't turn your heat too low when you are gone. your furnace will have to work harder to catch back up

Well this is false according to AC doctor
A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. This misconception has been dispelled by years of research and numerous studies. The fuel required to reheat a building to a comfortable temperature is roughly equal to the fuel saved as the building drops to the lower temperature. You save fuel between the time that the temperature stabilizes at the lower level and the next time heat is needed. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save.

What is the recommendation a programmable thermostat. We have one! Since I am home usually 24 hrs a day (remember I am a work at home mom) I keep the heat at 66 degrees a day.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Frugal Christmas ideas Restaurant Gift Certificates 50%

I found out about this last year but never used it. I had a friend who gave me the gift certificate for a local resturant for a gift a few weeks ago. It was $25 gift certificate that she paid $10. It worked easily.

So check it out yourself! Nice way to give a good gift at a discount. Gift Certificates: Save 50% on your next meal!

I plan on using it to give for some gifts for Christmas!

Cheap Meal Planing Week of Oct 23rd

Nothing exciting this week... pretty boring.

Sunday We are going to a progressive dinner party.

Mon Lasagna

Tues Crockpot Chicken Salsa

Wed Leftover lasagna

Thurs Lefover crockport chicken salsa

Fri Clean out the fridge night or soup/sandwiches

Sat Homemade pizza

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Fuel Assistance for Low income

I am trying to find as many resources as possible for fuel assistance for low income families.

Eligibility is based on household size and the gross annual income of every household member, 18 years of age or older. Household income cannot exceed 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

US Department of Energy Weatherization Program

State Assistance programs

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

State Websites for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

National Fuel Funds

Friday, October 21, 2005

No heat until November 1st

It is a little cold here this morning but I am refusing to put the heat on until November 1st. It won't be too bad as temps during the daytime have been reaching 50 and 60s. Nighttime, we have had our first freeze yet. I have sleepers on the twins and an extra comfortor on the other beds just in case anyone gets cold.

I haven't kept track in past years the first date when I turned on the heat. I like a little challenge even if is even for me. I doubt I'll even tell my husband.

Enjoy your savings!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

How to pay for the car repair

While DH and I don't always see eye to eye on money or our personal finance goals, we do compromise. We had blowout this week on how to pay for our car repairs- $1100. He wanted to whip out the credit card (we keep just in case) and use that because he didn't want dig into the emergency fund. It would bring our efund to levels lower than it needed to be. So we compromised.

1. We used our emergency fund cash
2. We made a plan to add back to the efund at $200 per month for 6 months
3. We were making extra payments on our current car loan so this stops it for awhile.

Spicy Black Bean Soup

It is a little chilly here this morning and I am thinking of warm soups.  I love Black beans and soup so I wanted to make my favorite soup.

I like Spicy Black bean soup- really easy to make.
2 cans of black beans, (you could use beans in a bag but I am never good with doing that)
2 can of chicken broth,(use low sodium)
1 can diced tomatos (used fresh if you have it)
diced onion
2 can of water.
Add spices like garlic, chili spice

If you want a southwestern flair add chipolte and corn!

Pour everything in the a large  pot except for 1 can of beans. Put those beans into the food processor and make mush.  Add the those bean in and let simmer on the stove. .

Very good, filling and healthy!Since I work at home this is the perfect lunchtime food for me. I love to be able to make a large batch on a Monday and then eat it through  out the week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Dave Ramsey says : ESA VS 529 PLANS

Dear Dave,

I, a mere mortal, am trying to understand 529 plans for college savings. Is the money put into the plan completely exempt from taxes or is only the growth exempt?

Read Dave's answer

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Budget Buster Car Repair

My husband just got off the phone with the machanic. Our 1996 Dodge Caravan needs over $1000 worth of service. Water pump, belts... not sure of all the details.

Luckily we got the money in the bank, but it brings my emergency fund down to levels I am not crazy about. I may get a part-time job so we can get our Emergency fund back up to levels where it needs to be.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Cheap dinner planning wk of Oct 16th

Sun Steak (got it marked down), fries, green beans

Mon Chicken Bruschetta

Tues Nacho Stuffed Shells New Recipe we are trying

Spicy Stuffed Shells
Nacho stuffed shells 

12 ounces jumbo shells (32 to 36 shells) -- uncooked
3/4 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 package (1.25-ounce) low-sodium taco seasoning mix (no msg)
1 cup water
1 can (16-ounce) refried beans with chilies
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese -- shredded
3/4 cup mild, medium, or hot picante sauce We used salsa
1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions or red onions

Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, sauté beef in a large skillet until browned; drain well and add oatmeal. Add taco seasoning mix and water; simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Stir in beans and cheese. Cook until smooth and well-mixed. When pasta is done, drain well. Fill shells with beef mixture (1-2 tablespoons per shell). Combine picante sauce and tomato sauce in a saucepan. Cook until heated, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan that has been lightly greased. Place filled shells side by side on top of sauce; pour remaining sauce evenly over shells. Cover with a tent of aluminum foil; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with green onions. Cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired.

Wed Left over chicken brushetta

Thurs Leftover Nacho Stuffed Shells

Fri Ham and potatos

Sat Homemade pizza

Enjoy your savings!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

40 year mortgage

Yes there are such things as a 40 year mortgage through Fannie Mae! Oh wow this great I can buy more house and spread out the payments more. Hold back... now

You are adding a whole decade on for interest-that could add hundreds of thousands of interest on.

Let's take this example provided by Michele Singletary Washington's Post personal finance writer.

For example, let's say you have a $300,000 mortgage and the interest rate is 6 percent fixed for 30 years. Your monthly mortgage payment would be about $1,800, not including taxes and private mortgage insurance. Over the life of the 30-year loan you would pay about $348,000 in interest.

A $300,000 home loan for 40 years at a 6.25 percent interest rate would drop your monthly mortgage payment to about $1,700. However, your total interest payments would be more than $517,000.

There is only $100 difference the monthly payment but a world of difference in what you pay overall. Look at all of your expenses, your budget before you make such a costly mistake.

Be a smart financial consumer!

Enjoy your savings!

New Bankruptcy Laws

Hello and Welcome!

In this week's issue Living on a Budget in a Non Budget World
Money Saving Tips
Featured Article New Bankruptcy Laws
Money Blog Spotlight
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Halloween on the Cheap
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Cheap Food Kids Pasta Party

Read this issue at:

Enjoy! Best of luck in your savings

Friday, October 14, 2005

Pellet Stoves Do they save money?

With the costs of oil and natural gas going up and up, people are listening and looking for ways to save money on their winter heating bills. I keep on hearing about pellet stoves as a good alternative.

Pellet stoves are similar to wood-burning stoves. Instead of logs, they burn pellets made from compacted sawdust, wood chips, bark and other organic materials. A standalone stove or an insert placed into a fireplace can provide heat for an open space as large as 1,500 to 1,800 square feet. Unlike a typical gas or oil heating system, which has pipes or ductwork throughout a house, a pellet stove typically heats only one room, unless a fan is used to force warm air into adjacent rooms, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Sounds good.... but what about downsides

Pellet Stoves Worth it? In this ask the builder question, it really talks about doing a cost analysis vs what is in vogue. Pellet stoves cost about $2000 so you are not going to make up the difference in one year.

Heating with pellets is quite economical compared with oil and natural gas. On the Sam's Club web site, pellets sell for about $187 a ton. The Department of Energy says a homeowner can expect to go through up to three tons of pellets a season, or $560 worth. In contrast, heating oil will likely cost owners of bigger homes in the Northeast several thousand dollars this winter.

The yuck factor aka a big hassle
Cleaning and filling up the pellet stove can be another job.

Before you get caught up in the hoopla of thinking that you are saving alot of money-be the informed consumer and do your research.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dave Bach First Automatic Millionaire

Jim McIntrye is a millionaire but never earned more than $60k a year. Dave Bach tells the story of his 1st Automatic Millioniare that he met.

looked over their tax returns and financial statements. Their combined earnings for the previous year were $53,946. They had no outstanding debts. They owned two homes. The one they lived in was valued at $450,000. A rental property, which was providing them with $26,000 in rent annually, was worth $350,000. Jim's 401(k) balance was $610,000. Sue had two retirement accounts with $72,000. They had $62,500 in the bank, $160,000 in municipal bonds, plus personal property -- three cars and a boat, all paid for. And, Jim's job would provide him with a small pension. Their net worth was approaching $2 million

Of course I want to know how to do it... don't we all. Dave Bach doesn't provide any earth shattering news here that is any different from his books. However good common sense advice that we sometimes all need to hear again and again.

1. You don't have to look rich to be rich.
You don't need to buy the newest car or have the new gadget. Buying a fairly new car and driving it until it dies is probably one of the smart financial decisions you can make.

2. Pay yourself first
How would they do that? Simple. Every time they earned a dollar, they would pay themselves first. Before any bill was paid, they socked away money for retirement, their home, investing, and more.

3. Sweat the Small Stuff
Nickels and dollars add up to dollars. Dave calls this the Latte Factor. What is your latte factor? Is the soda from the vending machine?

4. Cash only
If you can't afford to pay in cash, don't buy it! Repeat after me don't use the credit cards, don't use the credit cards .

Enjoy your savings!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

10 things you should never buy new

10 things you shouldn't buy new is a good article on msn finance pages.

We use our library all the time. We can reserve books online for new best sellers. or Amazon are are great places to get deals.

DVDs, CDs and videos
We occassionally will buy DVDs but for the most part they are used. I do sometimes pick up the latest kiddie movie because I know we will watch it many many times. I don't remember the last time I bought a CD for me. I may get some as a Christmas gift.

Little kids' toys
Rarely buy them used but I know I should. We have a great consignment store down the road that has great toys.

Some other things not be buy used. jewelry, cars, video games, office furniture, handtools.

Places like and often have items for free and or for a good deal. Buying used can save you a lot of money over your lifetime.

Enjoy your savings.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Cheap Meal Planning Wk of Oct 9th

I don't usually cook full chickens but they had them on sale for 59 cents a lb which is a good deal.

Sunday At a family party no dinner plan

Mon Roasted chicken in the crockpot

Tues Homemade Cornbread chicken and baked beans

Wed Pasta

Thurs Left over homemade cornbread chicken and baked beans

Friday Over Mom dinner

Sat Sandwichs Got a cub scout halloween party

Enjoy your savings!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Frugal Christmas Gift Basket Ideas

I love doing gift baskets and theme gifts for Christmas shopping   
It necessarily doesn't have to basket, can be a gift bag. Check out yard sales,
dollar stores for cheap ways to hold the items that you are giving. 

Irish Gift Basket Ideas for the ultimate Irish lover in all of us.

Football Fan Gift Basket

Golfer gift basket

 Baseball Fan Gift Basket This is a vendor site... way too expensive. Borrow the concept.

Scrapbooking basket  
Lots of sticks at the dollar store are good! 

Fisherman gift basket A great suggestion would be to use a tackle box as the actual basket!

Cat Owner Gift Basket Don't forget the cat In a cat litter box, place a catnip toy, cat food, a poop scoop, a leash, a name tag and a little rubber mouse

Dog owner Gift Basket
Don't forget about the dog  In a dog bowl, place a ball, old sock with
a knot tied in it, dog bones, rawhides, a leash, a name tag and a brush

Family Game Night Basket deck of cards, set of dice, pads of paper, box of
pencils, game book, a board game or two, drinks, snacks.

Movie Lover Gift Basket gift certificate to the local video store, popcorn,
snacks, and soda 

Weight Watcher gift basket

Pizza Lover Gift Basket

Crossword Puzzle Fanatic Gift Basket

Enjoy your savings!




Saving early for retirement

The point is simple, as most vital points are: You need to start today, right now, this second, to save in a prudent way.

Ben Stein writes that in his recent yahoo finance articleThe Early Bird Gets the Nest Egg Common Sense . I wished I save more money in my 20s before DH and I were parents, homeowners and spending money like bunch of crazy kids. My nest egg at 35 would be alot higher than it is now.

check out the article for common sense advice... the earlier you start the more moola you will have when you retire. If you have access to a 401k a work, take advantage of it. If you don't, open an IRA.

Enjoy your savings!

Hubby got a raise

Annual performance review time at DH and he actually got a decent raise that help the budget. Not as a much as he would have gotten if he got the promotion but enough to make a difference.

I am going to wait a few weeks to bump retirement savings to see what his new check amount will be.

Enjoy your savings!

Friday, October 07, 2005

New Yahoo personal finance

Suze Orman has been flying solo on Yahoo finanace for the past year. Now she has some new finance friends. I look forward to get more advice and learning more. Check out their columns at

* David Bach, best-selling author, will provide a no-discipline, no-nonsense system to help people achieve their financial goals as part of "The Automatic Millionaire" column, which will appear every other Tuesday.

• Stephen Covey, international best-selling author, will pen the biweekly column "From Effectiveness to Greatness" providing advice on how to thrive, innovate, excel, and lead. His column will run every other Thursday.

• Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., the foremost expert on the lifestyle, marketing, and workforce implications of the coming "age wave," will provide the ultimate guide for a new generation of retirees in his column, "Reinventing Retirement," which will appear every other Thursday.

• Robert Kiyosaki is a best-selling author, investor, entrepreneur, and educator. In his column, "Why the Rich Get Richer," he will discuss why many commonly held truths about managing money are obsolete. His column will run every other Tuesday.

• Daniel Pink, journalist and best-selling author, will pen "The Trend Desk" focusing on financial, consumer, and workplace trends that are reshaping business. "The Trend Desk" will appear the third Wednesday of each month.

• Laura Rowley, celebrated personal finance expert, will share humorous and thoughtful stories on money and life in her biweekly column, "Money and Happiness," appearing every other Friday.

• Jeremy Siegel, currently the Robert E. Palmer Professor of Finance at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, will provide straightforward and timely insights into financial markets and wealth. His column, "The Future for Investors" will appear every other Monday.

• Ben Stein, lawyer, economist and well-known Hollywood personality, will explain how the ordinary investor can protect and grow their net worth in an ever-changing world. "Common Sense" will be published every other Monday.

• Charles Wheelan, economist and author of the best-selling book "Naked Economics," will continue his witty and accessible exploration of how economics affects our everyday lives in his column "The Naked Economist," appearing the first Wednesday of each month.

Enjoy your savings!

Keep the Change New Saving Program

Bank of America is offering customers a new way to save. It's called "Keep the Change."

The Keep the Change service rounds debit-card purchases up to the next dollar, and puts the change into an interest-earning savings account.

The bank says it will match all contributions for the first three months.

The bank will also gain from the program. It earns a fee for every transaction made with a debit card.

My thoughts..
I like the concept. I am a Bank of America customer and do use my debit card so the few extra dollars that I earn will be gravey.

On that note consumers tend to spend more when they use a debit card, so make sure you are spending extra if you are using your debit card.

Enjoy your savings!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Dreaming of more money

The last few weeks I have been dreaming of a bigger income. DH has been up for a big promotion at his job. It would have given us atleast 20% more income. I had great dreams for this money, new toys, increasing his 401k savings, new windows, an easier time doing the bills and less stress.

Oh well it is back to reality since we found out yesterday that he didn't get the promotion. The budget which I really need to redo and I have been guility of slacking.

Enjoy your savings!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

School Fundraiser

Tis the season.... I am active in the school PAC (20 parents out 600 students at my oldest son's school) but sometimes fundraisers are just too much. I know they are necessary

My 1st grader's fundraiser ended yesterday. Selling wrapping paper and candies. I hate going door to door for this stuff. Just bought some for myself. Gift bags, wrapping paper and some tags. Spent $22.00 I really almost rather just write a check to the school

We got the second fundraiser letter selling pies. I like this one better... atleast I can buy 2 or 3 pies for Thanksgiving.

I believe my son's preschool will be a coffee and candy fundraiser starting next week. I am running the bake sales this week at the open house.

And then cub scouts... a popcorn fundraiser...

So adults will be getting some coffee and the kids will be popcorn and candy for gifts.

Enjoy your savings!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Frugal Christmas Gifts in Jar

Gift in a jar are very nice and cheap way to spread the Christmas cheer! They are perfect for teacher's gifts, bus drivers etc.

Here are some great places to find recipes:

Gifts in Jar Beverage ideas

Gifts in a Jar Breads breads and muffins mixes including apple bread, chocolate chip banana bread.

Gifts in a Jar Goodies Cakes, Pies, Cookies

Gifts in a Jar Candy Oh my the calories but look so good

Gift in Jar Soup Perfect for bachelors

Printable Gift in a Jar Tags

Enjoy your savings!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Cheap Food Planning week of Oct 2nd

Fall is here... so we will be incorporating a lot more soups in the menu.

Sun Out for dinner

Mon Creamy Chicken Casserole:

4 Chicken Breasts, cooked and chopped
1 (small) can Cream of Chicken Soup
8 oz. Sour Cream
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Sleeves Ritz Crackers
Melted Butter

Tues KIELBASA AND baked beans in the crockpot

Wed Leftover Creamy chicken casserole

Thurs Soceer/cub scout night Sandwiches

Fri Pasta

Sat Homemade pizza

Enjoy your savings!


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cheap Halloween Costumes and Party Ideas

Halloween is really for the kids but it can end up being an expensive night if you go to the store and buy the $20-$30 costumes. Many costumes can be made for much less. I have compiled some of the best money savings ideas on Halloween to keep it cheap!

Cheap Halloween Costumes for boys

Cheap Halloween Costumes for girl

Halloween Costumes out of cardboard box

Clearance Costumes

Pumpkin Carving Tips

Jack 0 Lantern Patterns

Halloween Party Games

Throw a Halloween Party Adults and Kids Will Love

Worms with Basil and Parmesan Cheese (Spaghetti)

Cheap Bulk Halloween Candy

"Body Parts" A Halloween Party Game

Enjoy your savings!

Frugal Halloween Fun Money Saving Tips

In this week's issue Living on a Budget in a Non Budget World

Money Saving Tips
Featured Article Fun Halloween Theme Parties
Money Blog Spotlight
Top Conversations on the Money Saving Forums
Halloween on the Cheap
Freebie and Contest Alerts
The Frugal Five
Cheap Food Chicken Bruschetta Bake

Read this issue at:

Fun Halloween Ideas, Saving Money Tips